Orange San Francisco review


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Orange has plenty of Android devices on its network, but now it has made the move and launched its own brand Orange San Francisco, running on Android 2.1 with a bundle of Orange-branded extras, which combine social networking and connectivity into one neat little package.

The Orange San Francisco is manufactured by ZTE, just like the ZTE Racer. ZTE is also known for producing mobile broadband dongles, even if it isn’t one of the best known mobile manufacturers out there.

The San Francisco is an inoffensive looking device, with a 3.5-inch capacitive touchscreen, the device’s home, menu and back keys along the bottom.

The OLED screen is very clear and it’s nice to see such a high quality display on a device that’s priced so low. It’s vibrant and crisp, especially when viewing video – an essential component for the majority of consumer’s needs in this day and age.

The Orange San Francisco isn’t one of those vanilla Android devices without a skin or decent interface overlaid on Android 2.1. The homescreen features a fully customisable layout, which allows you to design, rearrange and edit its appearance until your heart’s content.

There’s a toolbar at the bottom displaying the menu icon, mail, phone and phone book. These stay at the bottom whichever homescreens you’re on so you can always access the most important functions.

You can add shortcuts to any of the five homescreens, including a handy photos widgets that displays your images in a slide show, on your homescreen – ideal for sharing pictures with friends and family alike.

It’s simple to add widgets to the homescreens too. Just hold and press the homescreen and up will pop a list of different types of widgets including Orange Widgets, Android Widgets, Shortcuts, Folders and the option to change your wallpaper. Some of the pre installed apps are pretty handy and are something that will definitely appeal to younger users.

All of the Orange services are onboard including the Orange Wednesdays Android app that allows you to order your two for one cinema tickets and Pizza Express offer, a shortcut to the Orange App Shop, Contacts backup, Orange Music Store, Homescreen selector and Orange Maps to name a few.

There’s a pretty extensive collection of other apps available through the App Shop. Sure, it’s not as full to the brim as Android Market, but it doesn’t feel as colourful and intuitive when compared to Google’s offering.

Nevertheless, Orange’s App Shop is a nice addition and features a wide range of apps and utilities that will no doubt come in very handy to the majority of users.

The camera isn’t top of the range, but you wouldn’t expect it to be on such an affordable device, would you?

There’s 3.2-megapixels and features auto-focus – something that’s always handy on nights out! 

Photo results after the rather long pause, however, are pretty good and crisp in bright conditions. There’s no flash, though, so don’t expect anything too stunning if you’re in a dark environment.

The Orange San Francisco runs on Android 2.1, which brings with it a load of functionality not previously available on lower-specced handsets (such as the T-Mobile Pulse). We hope that the San Francisco will be upgradeable to Android 2.2 in the future, which is a distinct possibility.

Orange hasn’t missed anything out with the San Francisco. Wi-Fi is onboard, alongside Orange’s stock browser. Couple this with the device’s screen and you’ve got a very nice browsing experience at your finger tips.

For £99, the Orange San Francisco is a well-specced device for younger users that simply want connectivity, good internet browsing and a lot of the trimmings usually associated with higher-end devices. There may be bits and pieces missing software-wise, but these can be downloaded simply from Android Market, and for no cost at all.

Click here to get the Orange San Francisco

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